The Starkers Academy Ball

Roy and Kiki Pose.jpg

And the category is… Nude Realness!

The inaugural Starkers Academy Ball brings the glamour and camp of Ball culture to life drawing audiences of all abilities for Pride in London.

Friday 5 July 2019, 7-9pm
Gay Star News, The Embassy, 129 Mile End Road, London E1 4BG
£15/£12 online or £20 on the door
Materials included, sponsored by GreatArt
Free drink on entry sponsored by Blossom Hill

Figuration presents a  life drawing extravaganza hosted by ultra-queen and feminist clown Kiki Mellék, ‘Mellékia’s top Professor of Art’.

Immortalised by 1990 documentary Paris is Burning, Madonna’s iconic Vogue and the more recent televised phenomenon Pose, the drag Ball culture was all about the power to exert identity through transformation, performance and sheer guts. At the Starkers Academy Ball, the life models will be giving Nude Realness as they pose for a drawing public of all abilities, sexes, sexualities, genders and backgrounds.

Ooooo darlings, it’s me, Kiki!  And yes, arty Bibshkis, you get to draw my lovely nudey models at the very first Starkers Academy Ball. Flex those artistic muscles - whether you’ve flexed them before or not, darlings - in the grand hall of the sparkly, spanking new HQ of Gay Star News. Let’s hava Kiki!
— Kiki Mellék

The Starkers Academy is the brainchild of artists’ model and creative entrepreneur Roy Joseph Butler. Born on the glitter-strewn stage of The Glory in 2017, it was a response to increasing interest in trying life modelling for the first time, particularly from those seeking stillness in a too-busy world or confronting body image or mental health challenges. The Starkers Academy has become a space where new life models and life drawers of all abilities come together to celebrate who they are, what they are, and what they can accomplish together.

Spotted at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018, Kiki Mellék was invited to guest host, bringing her unique brand of body-positive cabaret. And now the Academy comes of age at the first Starkers Academy Ball, featuring five of our greatest graduates from Academies past.

The Ball will take place at London’s latest LGBTQI hub, the new headquarters of LGBTQI news website Gay Star News in Stepney, London.

Can’t draw? Who cares!

Notes to editors:

  • Figuration is a studio for visual stories specialising in animated content and figurative arts workshops, with image-making as storytelling at their core. Our partners include community organisations, creative industries and museums and galleries. Figuration is registered with Social Enterprise UK.

  • Joanna Calderwood (aka, Kiki Mellék) is an actress and performance artist who has performed to packed audiences at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Brighton Fringe Festival, Leicester Square’s Hippodrome and East London hotspot The Glory. Her one-Kiki cabaret show, Law of Attraction, gave birth to alter-ego Kiki.

  • For more info about Figuration email Roy at or visit

  • For more info about the Starkers Academy Ball email or

  • Tickets available online at

  • For more info about Jo Calderwood visit